First city candidate files for Ward 4

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Three Lewisburg residents have obtained petition forms toward running for seats on the City Council in the May election and another has done so for the mayoral race.

However, Ronald McRady of Second Avenue South is the only one of the four who's filed the petition with verified signatures from 25 registered voters, thereby making him the first candidate in the election.

McRady is running for the Ward 4 seat currently held by Councilman Phil Sanders who was elected nearly 12 years ago when Mayor Bob Phillips was elected. Phillips says he's not running for re-election. Sanders has said he came in with Phillips and will go out with him.

Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr. has previously said he intended to run for the office to which he was appointed and now he's got a petition to complete and file for the May 6 election to continue as the Ward 3 councilman. Whitehead was appointed to succeed Betsy Shelton.

Councilman Hershel Davis represents Ward 2. When asked recently if he intended to run for re-election, he replied that he'd not rule out that possibility. Nor would he indicate his thoughts on stepping down.

No statement has been issued by the two residents who've picked up petitions for mayor and the Ward 4 Council seat. If the potential candidate in the 4th Ward does file his petition to be named on the printed ballot, then there will be a race between him and McRady.

The deadline for candidates to file their petitions is noon on Feb 19. Candidates may withdraw within a week, so the deadline to keep the name off the ballot is noon Feb 26.

The city election is nearly five months away, but at least one election issue may have already emerged. It's whether the garbage collection fee will be lowered. While it's currently uncertain, the prospect arises if Waste Management is permitted by the state to proceed with a long-held company plan to use 11 acres for dumping at Cedar Ridge Landfill even though the area hadn't been the subject of a permit application until last year.

Company officials said if it allowed the state permit application to go forward, then the city could dump its trash at Cedar Ridge. That has cost the city about $130,000 annually.

If that's to happen, then a decision on collection fees could be made by the City Council well after the May 6 election because the prospect of a state decision is expected by Waste Management officials no sooner than June.

McRady's concerns

While, McRady spoke during a public hearing against expansion of the landfill, on Monday he expressed concern for the local economy since Sanford announced it's closing its plant here. That will have an impact on government revenue, a matter that's been of concern throughout McRady's career as a state official.

After 10 years in the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, McRady was a senior budget analyst and he transferred to the Tennessee Department of Corrections where he held several administrative jobs dealing with finances.

So, now as a candidate for City Council here, McRady would like to see contingency plans for the prospective loss of revenue to the city because of Sanford's pending closure.

"When I look at a budget, the first thing I want to see is revenue, and I'd take out the non-recurring revenue," he said. "If revenue is dropping, you want to know where to cut back on spending.

"If you have to raise taxes, you better show where you cut spending because there are people who can't pay for medicine, gasoline or other current expenses," McRady said.

His position on the landfill centered on Waste Management's plan to plug a sinkhole so trash may be buried on top and between two other mounds of buried garbage.

"If they get trash in the sinkhole, we could end up with bad water from here to Cornersville, Chapel Hill and Petersburg," McRady said.

He questions whether it's possible to successfully plug a sinkhole.